8 million Nigerians to enjoy basic healthcare

Eme Offiong, Calabar

From Left-Senator-Lanre-Tejuosho-Chairman-Senate-Committee-on-Health-Professor-Ivara-Esu-Deputy-Governor-of-Cross-River-State-and-Professor-Isaac-Adewole-at-the-Cross-River-Health-Summit-in-Calabar.

Nigeria’s Ministry of health is set to provide eight million Nigerians with basic healthcare services as a test run to achieve universal coverage.

The Minister of Health,Professor Isaac Adewole, said the ministry has commenced a project to provide services to the people.

Professor Adewole was speaking at the first Cross River State Health Summit in Calabar.

He commended the Cross River State Government for taking steps to re-position its primary healthcare delivery system.

“We are working hard to ensure that the Basic healthcare provision fund is captured in the 2018 budget. As such, we are starting a pilot project in three states, where 8 million people would be provided with basic healthcare as initial drive to show that Nigeria can attain universal healthcare for our people,”the minister explained.

According to Adewole, this administration is actually in partnership with the legislators;  we will achieve success and attain universal coverage”.

Primary Healthcare Centres
The Minister further explained that the Nigerian government was working to make 10 thousand of the 30 thousand Primary Healthcare Centres, PHCs, functional in the country.

He stressed the need for States to collaborate with the ministry to make all existing PHCs functional.

“There is no need to construct new primary healthcare centres. We have enough, but we need to make them functional.  Provide water, provide electricity, put human resources there, put commodities and they will function,” he stated.

Affordable Healthcare System
The Minister commended Cross River State for blazing the trail in establishing  an affordable healthcare system, which when fully implemented would contribute to protecting the people from financial hardship.

“Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world where70 to 80 percent of our resources for health is from the pocket and we must eliminate this. When we eliminate it, we will ensure access and we will protect the people,” stated Adewole.

The Minister said that the ministry was still providing free surgery and cancer screening for the poor and that the target was to reach 10, 000 Nigerians.

“As part of the rapid result initiative, we started last year to offer free surgery to very poor Nigerians. It is still ongoing, the beneficiaries are the core poor in Nigeria. We also will provide free screening for breast and cervical cancer to women and prostrate screening for men over fifty,”  Adewole explained.

During the launch of the Cross River State health policies and action plan, the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu described the summit as a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the people.

Professor Esu, said the Government was giving priority attention to its primary health sector with the launch of the affordable healthcare insurance scheme.

He said the success of its programme would depend on the quality of human resources and facilities in the sector.

“We have different policies designed to drive the affordable healthcare scheme and the focus of this administration on the development of facilities such as the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company, the proposed Specialist referral hospitals and continued renovations across all primary healthcare centres would boost delivery to our people,” the deputy governor added.

The First ever two-day Cross River State Health Summit attracted medical personnel from within and outside Nigeria.

Confidence Okwuchi